California Deploys Urban Search and Rescue Team to Aid in Nepal Earthquake Response

Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. approved the deployment of Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2 (CA-TF2) through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to aid in the response to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Nepal.

At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Nepalese officials, CA-TF2, which consists of 57 personnel, will assist local emergency operations in and around the hardest hit areas of the country conducting search and rescue operations.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nepalese people and we are eager to get our world-class first responders on the ground to help those that are still being impacted by this terrible event,” Cal OES Director, Mark Ghilarducci, said.

The earthquake struck Nepal at approximately 11:11 p.m. PST on April 24 at a depth of about nine miles. The epicenter is northwest of Kathmandu, the nation’s capitol. Aftershocks are significant in number and intensity, continuing to cause further damage. The Task Force is expected to arrive on Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal.

CA-TF2, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, is one of eight such State/National teams that make up the California Urban Search and Rescue Program. These teams have specialized skills and equipment to assist during major disasters, CA-TF2 alone has six canine search handlers. They also carry survival and rescue kits that contain anything from heavy concrete cutting equipment, chainsaws, search cameras and sonar to locate victims, specialized communications and generators. In a forward-leaning effort to prepare CA-TF2 for deployment all team members were put on alert status within hours of the earthquake to prepare personnel and equipment for a potential deployment.

Members in California Urban Search and Rescue teams have been deployed for duty during Hurricane Katrina, 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, 2014 Washington State mudslide and many other of the world’s major disasters.

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